Drawing Wood Textures

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Textures are a great way to add life to any drawing.  Everything has texture from water,ice,fire,dirt and believe it or not,wind.  All these things can be drawn with pencil and its just figuring out what makes up these things.  I have and will continue to drill this into your heads, before you begin to draw something you must first understand it.  Study it and understand how it works under different conditions, for example, different lighting and distance.   I will be writing a tutorial on different textures, but for this one will focus on drawing wood.

We all know what a tree is and im sure you’re able to draw one with ease.  The problem with most people is adding the right detail to give it that look of a rough, old tree.  Its not that you can’t draw its just that you haven’t paid attention to what makes a tree a tree.  Well it all begins with observation.  The best way that you can observe something with detail, is to act as if you’re seeing something for the first time.  In the case of a tree go outside and look at it.  I know, i know, you may get some weird looks from your neighbors as they see your face just cm away from a tree. Hey, if you want to improve your drawings you gotta make some sacrifices :).  Study the tree, examine each groove.  Notice how time has changed its texture, compare an old one to a younger tree.   If you don’t want to go outside, you can always look for some pictures online or take some pictures yourself.  The point is for your to study it and know what you will be drawing.   Here is a brief anatomy of a tree so you better understand what you will be drawing.

For now we will be focusing on the bark and the details that make its texture.   As you can see from the image, the bark is not flat and is not smooth, so we cant get away drawing this texture with just black lines going up and down to represent the tree.   That image is a cross section of a tree trunk and now here is the view that we are all used to seeing.


The grooves that you see is what we will be focusing on, these are the details that will give the tree its texture.  Once we have that we will be adding finer details with highlights and shadows. One more thing, we will be looking at three different scenarios.  The first will be a closeup of a tree, the second will be a medium view like the image above and the third will be a tree at a distance.   This will help you understand how the same texture changes with distance.  They are subtle changes, but this understanding will help in improving your drawings.   We’re going to start by drawing a closeup of a tree trunk.  When would you need to use these details.  Well, if the tree tree is the main subject matter than this would be how to do it or if your pencil drawing is big enough that you are able to add this much detail to the tree in the drawing.  Lets use these two images as reference to get started.

The image above is an extreme closeup of some tree bark.  Notice those cracks.  Well these cracks are the rough edges that you see on the cross section of the first image.  The image below is the same bark but from a further distance.   The trick is to capture the right details. I’m a big fan of rough textures and this is the kind of texture that i like to add to my drawings.

Were gonna start with the upclose drawing.  We will start off by randomly adding the grooves.



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